NetSuite makes latest play for UpShot customers

The hosted CRM provider is out with its own migration plan for UpShot customers who may want to switch vendors once Siebel's acquisition closes.

With the announcement of a migration plan for customers of UpShot Corp., rival NetSuite Inc. becomes the third hosted software company to try to poach some customers in the wake of the Siebel Systems Inc. acquisition.

NetSuite's neighbor down the road in San Mateo, Calif., announced the acquisition of UpShot earlier this month for $70 million. NetSuite joins Salesforce.com and Salesnet Inc. in offering incentives for customers to switch providers. There is little evidence that these promotions result in customer wins, however.

"They don't tend to have a lot of impact initially," NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson acknowledged.

These plans do offer an incentive for UpShot customers uncertain of their future. Just how many make the switch remains to be seen, particularly given UpShot's customer base. Many hosted providers, including Nelson, expressed surprise and optimism when Siebel said it was buying UpShot in part for its 1,000 customers. It seems the vendors thought UpShot's customer base had been larger.

Siebel has pledged continued support for UpShot customers and said it intends to merge UpShot's offering with its own hosted product, Siebel CRM OnDemand, sometime next year.

NetSuite is pledging to honor customer's existing license agreements with UpShot, as well as offering six months of its NetCRM product for free. In a departure from plans from Salesforce.com and Salesnet, NetSuite will allow customers to take up the offer at any time provided they contact NetSuite in the next three months.

"If you come in, take a test drive and buy a year from now, we'll still honor the promotion," Nelson said. "I don't want to do a Siebel to them and force them to move right now."

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